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Life jacket saved boatie: Coastguard

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/01/2017

The Coastguard says it's only because of a life jacket that searchers were able to spot a man who spent four hours in the water in Manukau Harbour on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old rowed out from Green Bay to set fishing nets at around 10pm on Thursday but his small wooden dingy was swamped by waves.

The Coastguard was alerted shortly before midnight and the man was located in the water in the middle of the Purakau Channel by volunteers just before 4am.

He was rushed to a waiting ambulance suffering severe hypothermia, drifting in and out of consciousness.

"He's a very lucky man. There were some rough conditions out in the Manukau Harbour, and although we were searching much of the night we only spotted the man when our searchlights picked up the reflective strips on his life jacket," Papakura Coastguard president Rod Frost, who skippered the rescue boat, said.

The life jacket kept the man afloat and ultimately saved his life, according to Mr Frost, who also criticised the man's lack of preparation.

"He went out unprepared, with only oars and a life jacket - he had no forms of communications with which to signal for help once he got into trouble," Mr Frost said.

Boaties should carry two forms of waterproof communication and file a trip report, the Coastguard has warned.

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